Right now, the president is in survival mode. As we watch how it all unfolds, there are five people who represent the forces that will determine his future.
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican caucus have stood firmly behind the President. In some cases, Senate Republicans have remained silent during the worst examples of the President’s abuses of power, while in other cases they have been his most adamant defenders. Either way, the Senate remains the President’s major firewall. As long as McConnell can keep his troops in line, the President is protected until Election Day, regardless of whether the House passes any articles of impeachment.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh
Attorney General Bill Barr
Fox News Host (Fill-in-the Name)
Loyal Republican Voters
More than anything else, the President needs loyal voters who believe that any Republican — even Trump — is better than a Democrat in the Oval Office. He needs the base to keep endorsing what he does — which, in turn, will prevent Republicans in the Senate from turning against him.
If President Trump loses any of these five pillars of support, then his future is in doubt. All five are being strained in previously unimaginable ways, with signs of growing discontent bubbling to the surface.
Smith’s departure reveals that the guardians of the conservative temple are holding strong. Like Chris Wallace, Smith was one of the more measured anchors on Fox News who was resistant to the kind of pro-administration spin that is so common on the network. His departure after more than 20 years at Fox News highlights the continued dominance of the opinion shows, suggesting there is little chance of a serious breakup of support for the President on the network.
But history has a way of taking unexpected twists and turns, particularly when scandals explode. Keep an eye on these five key players, and the forces they represent, to figure out whether the President will withstand the storms that he has unleashed in Washington.
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